Rep. Cuellar Votes for Bipartisan Deal that Improves Access to Care for Veterans
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) voted in favor of a bipartisan deal that will allow veterans who are facing long wait times or who live far from clinics to seek private care outside of the VA system. The vote passed the House by a margin of 420-5.
“Today’s package will improve veterans’ access to healthcare service by giving them the option of seeking care outside of the VA system,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Delays in service to veterans are unacceptable and I have been concerned for some time about the allegations surrounding care at the VA. Since I was first elected to Congress, I have advocated for care closer to home for the veterans living in South Texas. Today’s deal especially benefits veterans in my district who live in rural areas, far from VA facilities and treatment. The deal brings us one step closer to ensuring that every man and woman who has fought for our country gets the care and support he or she needs close to home. I will work with the Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System and the South Texas VA to make sure this is implemented correctly.”
Today’s deal includes $17 billion in additional funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under the deal, veterans will be eligible to seek private care outside of the VA system if they meet the following criteria: 1) they are enrolled in a plan as of August 1, 2014, 2) they have attempted but are unable to receive an appointment within current wait time goals, or 3) they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.
This proposal also contains some other provisions:
· Improve the delivery of care to veterans who experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military.
· Expands the John David Fry Scholarship program to include surviving spouses of members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.
· Let all veterans qualify for in-state tuition under the Post 9/11 GI bill.
· Extends a program, which is about to expire, that provides housing for veterans who are struggling with traumatic brain injury.